This creative writing exercise is from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer
Take Ten for Writers • No. 60 Creative Writing Exercise
By Bonnie Neubauer | Updated September 9, 2018
What started off as an imaginary conversation between made-up friends about real questions toddlers ask ended up with the development of the fictitious Dictionary of Ludicrous “What If” Questions. Each crazy question is accompanied by a long-winded, equally ludicrous response penned by a lexicographer-for-hire. (A lexicographer is a person who writes and compiles a dictionary.)
You are today’s ludicrous lexicographer. When penning your response, think of Dr. Seuss or other children’s books to get in the groove of answering your “what if” question.
Pick a number between 1 and 10: ______.
Find your number below. This will generate a ludicrous “what if” question to be answered.
Find your number here. Use the choices in the grid to generate a ludicrous “what if” question to be answered. (An example from grid 1: What if babies earned French fries?)
|1||What if computers||caressed||french fries?|
|What if bulldozers||earned||kisses?|
|What if paper||grabbed||mushrooms?|
|What if babies||healed||nuns?|
|2||What if park rangers||zipped||nouns?|
|What if genies||rented||opera stars?|
|What if cows||irritated||prayers?|
|What if cockroaches||quizzed||onions?|
|3||What if managers||yearned for||violins?|
|What if newspapers||examined||umbrellas?|
|What if politicians||waxed||fortune cookies?|
|What if puppies||invented||wedding rings?|
|4||What if potatoes||vexed||swords?|
|What if donkeys||unearthed||disasters?|
|What if blizzards||chewed||peppers?|
|What if comedians||contaminated||odors?|
|5||What if trees||wore||knees?|
|What if hair||drank||garlic?|
|What if thumbs||grew||glasses?|
|What if cherries||lost||shoes?|
|6||What if generosity||drooled||ice cubes?|
|What if canaries||copied||pollution?|
|What if pillows||married||ideas?|
|What if bookstores||aped||cinnamon?|
|7||What if ovens||questioned||dreams?|
|What if bicycles||blasted||diapers?|
|What if buildings||beat up on||photographers?|
|What if baseballs||romanced||tulips?|
|8||What if televisions||investigated||wood?|
|What if machine guns||relied on||lawn mowers?|
|What if paint||showered||race cars?|
|What if pizza||documented||feminine products?|
|9||What if radios||raised||alligators?|
|What if money||mated with||grapes?|
|What if schools||socialized with||avalanches?|
|What if parks||crushed||brides?|
|10||What if rules||slid down||devils?|
|What if monsters||blessed||egg hunts?|
|What if teenagers||sliced||icicles?|
|What if cookies||demolished||hangers?|
Now TAKE TEN minutes and WRITE!
If you’re stuck in the middle of a piece, ask yourself some non-related “what if” questions like: What if the plot were a light bulb? What if this character were a bird? What if this magazine article were blown up to be the size of a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon? You will likely generate odd answers that will expand your thinking and enable you to brainstorm beyond your normal limits. No matter how absurd it seems, the more you think like this, the more you will come up with original solutions to writing challenges.
©2009 Bonnie Neubauer. All rights reserved.
Bonnie Neubauer is the inventor of the Story Spinner and author of the revised and expanded deluxe edition of The Write-Brain Workbook. ...